As the web moves decisively to mobile, it’s never been more important to stay informed about the latest mobile app development trends. Every year new development tools and resources are making mobile app building more accessible and automated. Check out these top 10 tips for app developers to make sure you’re making the most of your development efforts, tools, and resources.
1. Always Wireframe Your Apps
After brainstorming app ideas, and establishing the purpose of your mobile app, it’s time to wireframe. This is the process of sketching out the basic components of your app so you can more easily visualize the layout and user interface. Wireframing also involves making short notes about the functions and placements of buttons and navigation icons. Wireframing your app before getting into the specific design can save you from redesign efforts later on.
2. Optimize Your App Environment
Slow and buggy apps quickly lend themselves to deletion and poor reviews. Competition is abundant in the mobile app markets, so you need to make sure your app is optimized for speed, ease of use and device compatibility. Make sure you’re getting fast web hosting and coding efficiently to avoid any lags in speed. Do frequent bug testing on multiple devices and platforms to keep your app bug-free. Consider allowing users to report bugs through an automated log file email. If your app has a steep learning curve consider including a tutorial for new users.
3. Utilize Grids
It’s important to keep the basic layout of your app consistent from page to page. As users scroll they will be looking in the general area for buttons and navigation. The same is true for notifications. Make your app easy to use by implementing grids that your content follows as pages and tabs are opened and closed by the user.
4. Build to Specification
Since you’re going to want your app to be published in the Android and iPhone marketplaces you should build to their specifications from the beginning. Make yourself familiar with the Apple API reference documentation and the Development API Guide provided by Android to make sure you won’t get declined when submitting your app.
5. Get a Good App Development Platform
There are many app development platforms available for various needs. Depending on what coding your app will use, you should have a strong code editor with debugging and syntax checkers. Notepad++ is a popular choice for the HTML5 and CSS aspects of your app. Research compilers and code writing software specific to your chosen code to see which will work best for you.
6. Cloud Based Editors
Sometimes it’s preferable to edit your apps in the cloud. This is especially helpful for larger development teams, developers on the go, or business to business app collaboration. Many cloud-based editors such as Eachscape allow you the flexibility of building for Android or iOS.
7. Make Forms Easier
Streamline any form building by using an online forms generator for your app. This will save you time in the development process and allow you to import functional and well-designed forms. One example of an online forms builder with API integration is Form.com.
8. Think About the Offline Usability
It’s easy to overlook the offline use of your app since many functions will request server connections and Wi-Fi signals saturate our modern world. There are still many times when your users won’t be connected to the web, however. This includes those with work and school restrictions, residents of rural areas and those without an unlimited home or mobile Internet service plan. Make sure your app retains some functionality when offline. The best practice here is to include a save feature so that users can make changes that save and upload later, syncing with your web hosting server and creating a work offline mode.
9. Design with Usability and Readability in Mind
Regardless of how well your app functions, users may disregard it if the text is hard to read or the color scheme is straining on the eyes. Consider offering multiple color schemes modes such as the popular dark-mode for various readers’ needs. Make your fonts large and make sure everything in your app is responsive, so readers will never have to zoom or side scroll to finish reading sentences.
10. Create a Reusable Template
You’ve put the work in and developed a mobile app, why not give yourself a base to start from next time? Designing a basic template that you can add code and design elements to later will save you time and enable you to create an entire suite of apps. To further the efficiency you can also download basic app templates from the web, and make use of existing work which is often more than sufficient for nearly any mobile app.
Using these techniques, tools and resources will make your app development process simpler and more effective. Whether you’re building your first mobile app or you’re an industry expert, staying current on the newest development tools and practices will keep you ahead of the competition and ensure your time is being used efficiently.